For one group, the most important thing is being free to work, drive and visit their home country. For another group, being legal without the chance to become a citizen is second-class status.
For many families, living and working in the United States is the way to financially support their families back in the home country. One woman said, “So many people back there depend on those of us who are here. It would be such a help if we could work in peace and go back sometimes to see our children.”
An advocate said, “For many documented people, citizenship is not a priority.” He said they just want to feel secure in the U.S..
Others have said, “We either have a path to citizenship or a path to hell.” To not allow people to become citizens is seen by some as un-American.
The path to citizenship in the bill passed by the Senate is not easy. Undocumented people must pay fines. They must pay back taxes. They must learn English. They must wait behind all who applied legally. It is expected to take at least 13 years for these people to complete the path.
Republicans control the House of Representatives. Very few support the Senate bill. They want to focus on border security. They want to process the people here legally first. They want guest worker programs. And they are not pushing citizenship.
It is not clear how people who are for or against legalization want to treat the undocumented. However, there is agreement they must have some legal status in order to stay here.
The undocumented will have more and more children born in the United States as American citizens. There will be more and more marriages among citizens and the undocumented.
Americans appear to be getting tired of the stalemate over immigration reform However, it does not look like these issues will be resolved in 2013.
Source: The New York Times November 20, 2013